St George’s Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust faces a significant penalty fine of £60,000 after sending a vulnerable individual’s medical results to the wrong address. This is the fourth monetary penalty to be imposed on the NHS in the past two months. The mistake was made when two letters were sent to the recipient’s old address. The individual’s correct address had been provided to the trust and logged on the national care records service, NHS SPINE, before the medical examination took place.
Trust staff failed to check the individual’s recorded address on their local patient data base matched the data on the SPINE. This was despite the trust setting up a prompt to remind staff about the need to check and update patient information against the SPINE. Unfortunately, the trust knew the prompt could be bypassed and failed to take action.
Stephen Eckersley, the ICO Head of Enforcement, said “It is hard to imagine a more distressing situation for a vulnerable adult…this breach was clearly preventable and is a result of the trust’s failure to make sure the correct contact details they have for their patients are accurate and up to date.”
Subsequently the trust have taken action to ensure personal information is kept securely by putting checks in place and cross checking information against the spine and other relevant sources.